Flying an aircraft is no doubt an amazing experience. It’s the next best thing to being able to fly. Work as a pilot can be challenging since you’re responsible for the safety of thousands of people every day. More than that, it requires many skills as well to master flying something so big. Being a pilot can be a number of things. You can be an aircraft pilot, commuter pilot, and airline transport pilot, to name just a few.
Being a pilot can be a number of things. You can be an aircraft pilot, commuter pilot, and airline transport pilot, to name just a few. Below are more information on what it’s like to be a pilot.
Pilots are the ones who operate an aircraft during transportation from one place to another. They can either be employed privately or publicly. There are also pilots who work on a self-employed basis. Either way, a pilot’s life is often on the road, living in hotels and transferring from location to location.
But before you could ever hope to be a pilot, you have to have the education for it first. This costs anywhere from $100,000 to $150,000 depending on your school. After that, you then have to get certified before you could officially assist in flying an aircraft.
Process of Becoming a Pilot
The process of becoming a pilot doesn’t stop when you finish your education and get certified. You then start out as a flight instructor and then, later on, move to being a charter pilot. You also have the option to make the shift to corporate and become a co-pilot. Flying for an airline is also an alternative that many take before becoming a captain.
During your career, you are also required to take regular simulation rides, crew training, flight assessments, and upgrade training, to name just a few.
Pilot Training Requirements
Becoming a pilot might have appeared to be appealing particularly for those who have brave and adventurous souls; however, it is not only limited to learning the technical side of flying an aircraft. The responsibility given to them is crucial since they need to consider the welfare of everything within the plan from its crew to the passengers and the cargo. Thus, you must think carefully if you are really going to pursue being a pilot because it is a long and difficult process ahead.
Aircraft technology has been the subject of discourse nowadays due to several advancements in the field of technology that requires little to no manpower involved in flying an aircraft. However, things do not usually go as it was planned that is why pilots are expected to handle any problem that the airplane might encounter throughout the trip. It is more than commitment as it requires necessary flight experiences to decide what to do in case of being placed in a difficult situation such as encountering turbulence and bad weather condition. Thus, pilots are well-trained to operate aerial vehicles to able to perform their duty for the airline such as transporting passenger from one place to another before working for an airline company.
This career field requires you to invest time, money and effort since you do not automatically start with being the captain. Once you are hired, you will start first with being a co-pilot since every airplane usually have two pilots so that the other can assist or take over in case of an emergency. Then from being a co-pilot, you can start gaining more flight experiences even in a small regional airline. You simply need to take small steps towards being the captain
of an airplane or if you are dreaming to be able to fly a commercial airplane that goes around the world from known airlines.
Flying an Aircraft: How to Become a Pilot? Pilot Qualifications
If you are planning to secure a stable job as a pilot in an airline company, you must possess the following:
1. Be at least 23 years old
2. Commercial pilot certificate with instrument rating holder 3. Have recorded at least 1,500 hours total time as a pilot
4. Have recorded at least 50 hours in a multi-engine airplane
These qualifications are set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). It is also important to note that the qualifications mentioned are not only attainable when you enter a flight school. Some may also be acquired through the help of military aviation program. In addition to that, pilots must also secure an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate. So, the following are few steps that you can follow if you are interested and determined to pursue this career to enter the aviation industry and be a prosperous pilot someday. The steps mentioned below are detailed enough to guide you and the qualifications aforementioned is also discussed.
The first thing to keep in mind is that a well-rounded education is a good foundation if you are aiming to be a pilot. Some airlines do not usually require a bachelor’s degree especially if it is only a regional airline, thus a two-year degree program can be simply taken. However, if you desire to be a pilot of huge jets and airplanes you will need to take a four-year degree or bachelor’s degree which can be in any major and not aviation related. Enrolling in an aviation school might be expensive but some schools offer scholarship programs and financial aid to help lessen the cost of tuition along with flight costs. In addition to that, becoming part of an aviation or aeronautics school is an advantage because it can be a medium that might help you gain more relevant knowledge and skills that would be beneficial towards achieving your dream job. You can also gain coursework in subjects related to your field such as Physics, Mathematics, Aeronautical Engineering and also English. Some universities also provide up-to-date technology and equipment that can equip students with good quality of learning and training. Thus, getting a bachelor’s degree in an aviation school would be a good idea to start up your career in becoming a pilot particularly if you are planning to work in big airline companies and be one of the commercial airline pilots. On the other note, military aviation career may be an option for some as it covers the cost of the training. The thing is, you have to serve the military for ten years in exchange for the cost of the training covered. Once you are interested in becoming a military pilot, prepare yourself for strict physical and mental qualifications. The advantages of being in the military as a military pilot are that the experience itself exposes you to diverse situations which gives you an edge among other aspiring pilots from renowned airline
companies. Other advantages include financial benefits and you can enjoy traveling the world while gaining flight experience from various situations. Once the ten -year military service is complete, you can already prepare yourself for the next step to becoming a pilot.
Being a pilot does not end with learning and having the skills of becoming one. Aspiring pilots need to have a certain number of flight training hours to be able to get their license. You must have at least 1,500 total times of flight to obtain an airline transport certificate. Training is usually provided by a flying school so that you can have at least 40 hours of instrument flying experience in-air and also through simulation. The ratings from the instrument flying experience are essential in getting a license since it determines the ability of a pilot in situations of low visibility. Some students consider hiring a personal flight instructor that would extend and enhance their knowledge of flying an airplane and provide them better experience that some schools might not be able to offer. Others also start by working as a flight instructor to earn the necessary hours and experience. Moreover, you can also consider being part of the military which can give you an edge over other aspiring pilots when applying for a job. Military pilots require physical and mental strength which provides them with more substantial experiences that may cause airlines to hire them. Airline companies might prioritize them because of the experience that they had in training and the leadership skills that they have gained after serving in the military.
Once you have already acquired enough flight experience this might be the time for you to get your license. Obtaining a license requires a certain number of flight hours to be completed. In particular, commercial pilots obtain their license by having an additional 250 hours of flight from the required 1,500 hours that is needed in getting an airline transport certificate. Aside from that, you must be able to pass a written exam and showcase your skills and ability to fly an aerial vehicle and also to get a good rating in the instrument flying exam. Furthermore, they are also expected to pass physical examinations that would determine their capability to fly a plane. It is also a prerequisite for them to stay physically healthy so that their health condition will not be able to interfere with their schedule and such. A physical exam that includes an eye exam to determine if they have a legitimate 20/20 vision, hearing check-up and general checking of any physical handicaps is done to ensure that the pilots maintain their good health. A pilot’s vision, similar to drivers’, is indeed significant to be accurate while operating an aircraft and be a keen observer so that they can prevent or resolve any problem that they may encounter during their flight especially on occasions where they are scheduled at night or in spotting any bad weather condition that might affect the trip. This is also one of the reasons why becoming a military pilot is highly desired by several airlines since military training shaped them to be physically healthy and active to face rigorous tasks.
As part of the hiring process, airline companies often require pilot applicants to undergo and pass several tests such as psychological, physical, aptitude and drug tests. Carefully chosen applicants are then recommended to undergo 6-8 weeks of flight training with at least 25 hours of flight time. This additional training serves as a revenue for newly hired pilots to familiarize themselves to the airline company’s rules and regulations and to gain more flight
experience under the supervision of the company/airline that hired them. During flights, newly hired pilots usually start with being the co-pilot. It is also important to note that pilots may opt to start first their career with regional airline companies. The experience that they can get from working with these companies might serve as an edge when they get to work with major airlines in the industry. Lastly, it is important to improve on every track we take so pilots are expected to strive hard to be worthy of an air transport pilot’s license. An air transport pilot’s license holder indicates that the pilot has a considerable amount of cross-country flights, night flights, and instrument flights. However, a pilot must first take and pass written and practical examinations set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to be issued an air transport pilot’s license. Furthermore, pilots may also choose to join a professional pilot association to stay updated about the latest changes and upgrades in the industry as well as participate in the aircraft safety training and webinars through their membership. Joining professional associations such as Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and International Federation of Airline Pilots Associations (IFALPA) may be beneficial for pilots who may want to excel in their field as these associations may help them.
Pilot’s Salary: How much can I earn from being a pilot?
Pilot’s annual income varies according to their airline company but their experience in the industry might also be another factor in their pay rate. Experienced pilots are usually paid much higher compared to starting pilots. In general, pilots can be paid for as low as $80,000 to $150,000 annually. Commercial airline pilots are generally paid from a range of $110,000 to $150,000 annually while pilots or large jets are commonly paid for $120,000 annually. On the other note, pilots of small jets are generally compensated with $100,000 annually while non-jet aircraft pilots are paid lesser with an average of $80,000 dollars annually. These values are presented above may still vary depending upon the airline company’s system.
Qualities such as being determined and brave are important to succeed in this career because excelling in academics is not enough to become a pilot. One also has to be patient and passionate about learning the technical side of becoming a pilot. Otherwise, everything is going to be difficult for you to handle. In addition to that, people who excel in Mathematics, Science, and English who loves adventurous activities might enjoy studying this career.
The road to being a pilot is surely difficult and full of challenges as this career requires a lot of your time, effort and money to continue but all your efforts will surely be rewarded in the end when you have finally reached your dream job. Being a pilot is a stable job but it comes with great responsibility because the lives of many depend on you on every flight. That is why the qualifications and training are strict and firm to train pilots to be well-equipped with sufficient knowledge and skills.
Wilbur Wright, one of the Wright brothers who are one of the pioneers in the aviation field once said that “It is possible to fly without motors, but not without knowledge and skill.”
With this in mind, it’s only expected that aspiring pilots acquire proper training from a legitimate aviation academy. This will ensure that they’re well-equipped with sufficient knowledge and skills before ever flying their first aircraft commercially.
Choosing Among the Best Pilot Schools
When it comes to picking aviation schools, there are a lot of choices out there. But it’s not enough to have a good deal of options, you have to know what school best to pick depending on your budget and what you want to specialize in. Here are our top picks for you to choose from:
Purdue School of Aviation and Technology
Purdue University was founded by John Purdue in 1869 and is located at West Lafayette, Indiana. It has a total of 10 colleges and schools which offers at least 200 undergraduate programs and 69 masters and doctorate programs.
It’s known for being the “cradle of astronauts” as well as being the alma mater of Neil Armstrong. He made history by being the first ever human to reach the moon together with the Apollo 11 crew.
Purdue School of Aviation and Technology offers seven majors in bachelor’s degree which are:
- Aeronautical Engineering Technology
- Aerospace Financial Analysis
- Airline Management and Operations
- Airport Management Operations
- Aviation Management
- Professional Flight and Unmanned Aerial Systems.
The best thing about choosing Purdue is that they offer a well-rounded curriculum. This means you have a wide range of aviation specialization to choose from. The only caveat? Tuition fee can cost anywhere from $10,000 for residents and $28,000 for non-residents.
It’s also important to note that there are flight fees involved which will depend on the aircraft you’ll be using for flight exercises.
University of North Dakota’s Department of Aviation
University of North Dakota (UND) is a public institution founded in 1883 by Dakota Territorial Assembly. It offers more than 200 programs inclusive of undergraduate and graduate programs in various areas.
UND is located at Grand Forks city on the eastern edge of the state—a few miles from the Minnesota border. The university is remarkably performing well as it ranked 192nd in this year’s edition of Best Colleges is National Universities.
Its Department of Aviation at the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences offers two aviation degree programs with a total of seven majors which are:
- Airport Management
- Aviation Management
- Air Traffic Control
- Aviation Technology Management
- Commercial Aviation and Flight Education
The above specializations are under their undergraduate program. They also offer Masters of Science in Aviation and a Ph.D. in Aerospace Sciences for graduate programs.
The UND Aviation Department has a considerable number of aircraft such as airplanes, unmanned aerial systems, and helicopters they use for flight exercises.
Compared to other universities offering aviation programs, UND’s tuition fee is relatively lower. Its in-state tuition and other fees add up to just $9,800 while its out-of-state tuition and fees only amount to a total of $21,600.
However, the cost of aviation classes isn’t yet included in the tuition fee and it depends on your program.
For its other programs, their tuition fee ranges around $5,200 for the BS in Administration Airport Management specialization. While for a BS in Aeronautics, expect it to cost over $94,500.
UND offers scholarships and financial aid assistance for those that need help with their tuition. Students can apply as long as they would meet the requirements.
Ohio State University’s Center for Aviation Studies
Ohio State University (OSU) is situated in Columbus, Ohio. The aviation programs in this university are under the College of Engineering’s Center for Aviation Studies. Its department is considered one of the best colleges in the world in terms of providing aviation education to its students.
This university offers both graduate and undergraduate aviation programs. The College of Engineering’s Center for Aviation Studies offers aviation programs such as BS in Aviation, BS Business Administration in Aviation Management and the like.
Students taking any degree may opt to specialize in aviation which gives him or her advantage in earning a commercial pilot’s certificate. The student then may continue acquiring a pilot license before graduation.
Fortunately, the university offers scholarships and financial aid assistance to qualified students. The equipment used by the university during pilot training is Cessna 172 Skyhawk.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
This university is famous for being referred to as the “Harvard of Skies.” The university has three campuses which are found in Daytona Beach, Florida Prescott, Arizona, and ERAU Worldwide & Worldwide Online.
ERAU Worldwide & Worldwide Online offers online programs that have reached over 170 satellite locations across the globe for students. This aviation university offers a recognizable range of degree and non-degree programs for both undergraduates and graduates in the aviation and aerospace department.
Students may choose from 35 undergraduate and graduate programs like aviation business administration, aviation maintenance, and professional aeronautics for a bachelor’s degree. For a master’s degree, they offer technical management, space education, logistics, and supply chain management.
The university’s curriculum provides students with up-to-date knowledge and skills with the improved technology of today. Flight training in different programs is executed by leading experts from different parts of the world with the aid of advanced aircraft technology.
Western Michigan University – College of Aviation
West Michigan University (WMU) is one of the recognized public universities in the United States. Its College of Aviation offers well-rounded and intensive programs especially in Aviation Flight Science, Aviation Management & Operations or Aviation Maintenance Technician.
The equipment used in pilot training is 26 Cirrus SR20 aircraft, two Piper Arrows, six Piper Seminoles, an American Champion Super Decathlon, two Cessna 150 aircraft, a Piper Super Cub, and a Level 5 CRJ – 200 flight training device.
The tuition fee in this university will cost you $10,000 if you are a resident to $24,000 if you are a non-resident. However, you are entitled to a reduced tuition fee rate if you are residing in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.
Flying an Aircraft: How to Become a Pilot?
Aircraft technology has been the subject of discourse nowadays due to several advancements in the field of technology involved in flying an aircraft.
However, things do not usually go as it was planned that is why pilots are trained to handle any problem that the airplane might encounter throughout the trip.
So what does it take to become a pilot? It takes more than commitment as it requires necessary flight experience to be capable of deciding what to do in cases of unexpected circumstances. Some examples are turbulences and experiencing bad weather conditions.
Thus, pilots are well-equipped with knowledge and skills to operate aerial vehicles to be able to perform their duty. Responsibilities include transporting passengers from one place to another before working for an airline company.
So, the following are a few steps that you can follow if you are interested and determined to pursue this career. If you want to know, here’s how to become a pilot:
Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree
The first thing to keep in mind is that a well-rounded education is a good foundation if you are aiming to be a pilot. Some airlines do not usually require a bachelor’s degree especially if it is only a regional airline, so a two-year degree program can be simply taken.
However, if you desire to be a pilot of huge jets and airplanes you’ll need to take a four-year degree or bachelor’s degree which. This can be in any major and not aviation related.
Enrolling in an aviation school might be expensive but some offer scholarship programs and financial aid assistance to qualified applicants. This is meant to help lessen the cost of tuition and flight costs.
In addition to that, becoming part of an aviation or aeronautics school is an advantage because it can be a way to help you gain information and skills. There are a number of universities that provide up-to-date technology and equipment which can equip students with good quality of learning and training.
Thus, getting a bachelor’s degree in an aviation school would be a good idea to start up your career. This is especially a good option if you’re planning to work in huge airline companies and be one of the commercial airline pilots.
On the other hand, a military aviation career may be an option for you if money is an issue since it covers the cost of the training. The thing is, you have to render military service for ten years in exchange for the cost of the training covered.
If you’re interested in becoming a military pilot, prepare yourself for strict physical and mental qualifications. An advantage of being a military pilot is that the experience itself exposes you to diverse situations which will give you an edge among other aspiring pilots from different aviation schools.
Other advantages include financial benefits and you can enjoy traveling the world while gaining flight experience from various situations. Once the ten-year military service is complete, you can prepare yourself for the next step in becoming a pilot.
Acquire the necessary number of flight hours
Aspiring pilots need to have a certain number of flight training hours to be able to get their license. You must have at least 1,500 total times of flight to obtain an airline transport certificate.
Training is usually provided by a flying school so that you can have at least 40 hours of instrument flying experience in-air and also through simulation.
The ratings from the instrument flying experience are essential in getting a license since it determines the ability of a pilot in situations of low visibility. You can also consider being part of the military which can give you an edge over other aspiring pilots when applying for a job.
But do note that military pilots require physical and mental strength. This is to provide them with more substantial experiences that may cause airlines to hire them.
Get a pilot’s license
Obtaining a license requires a certain number of flight hours to be completed. In particular, commercial pilots obtain their license by having an additional 250 hours of flight from the required 1,500 hours that is needed in getting an airline transport certificate.
Aside from that, you must be able to pass a written exam and showcase your skills and ability to fly an aerial vehicle and also to get a good rating in the instrument flying exam.
You’re also expected to pass physical examinations that would determine their capability to fly a plane. A physical exam that includes an eye exam to determine if they have a legitimate 20/20 vision, hearing check-up and general physical capability monitoring is done to ensure that pilots maintain their good health.
Obtain more flight experiences as a professional
Chosen applicants are recommended to undergo 6 to 8 weeks of flight training with at least 25 hours of flight time. This additional training serves as revenue for newly hired pilots to familiarize themselves with the airline company’s rules and regulations and to gain more flight experience under the supervision of the airline company that hired them.
Lastly, pilots must strive harder to be worthy of an air transport pilot’s license. An air transport pilot’s license holder indicates that the pilot has a considerable amount of cross-country flights, night flights, and instrument flights.
However, a pilot must first pass written and practical examinations set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to be issued an air transport pilot’s license.
Pilots may choose to join a professional pilot association to stay updated about the latest changes and upgrades in the industry. They can also participate in aircraft safety training and webinars through their membership.
Joining professional associations such as the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and the International Federation of Airline Pilots Associations (IFALPA). These are beneficial for pilots who may want to excel in their field as these associations may help them.
Qualifications to Become a Pilot
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has set qualifications for aspiring pilots to work in an airline company. It is also important to note that these qualifications listed below are not only attainable when you enter an aviation school.
Some may also be acquired through the help of the military aviation program. In addition to that, pilots must also secure an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate.
- Be at least 23 years old
- A commercial pilot certificate with instrument rating holder
- Have recorded at least 1,500 hours total time as a pilot
- Have recorded at least 50 hours in a multi-engine airplane
Pilot training is composed of different modules designed to teach you different skills. Student pilots are trained in six specific maneuvers: ground reference maneuvers, performance maneuvers, takeoffs and landings, stalls and stall recovery, emergencies, and flight planning navigation.
In takeoffs, student pilots learn how to perform three kinds which are crosswind takeoffs, soft field takeoffs, and short field takeoffs. They also learn how to land on two kinds of surfaces: short runways and soft, grass fields.
In-ground reference maneuvers, student pilots are taught how to execute turns around a point, rectangular course and s-turns. This is useful to combat the effect of wind so that the desired flight path will be maintained.
For emergency cases, pilots must be prepared for emergency landings. Lastly, pilots must be able to plan their flights accordingly especially if it’s a cross-country flight.
Pilot salary varies according to their airline company but their experience in the industry might also be another factor that might affect their pay rate. Experienced pilots are usually paid much higher compared to starting pilots.
In general, pilots can be paid for as low as $80,000 to $150,000 annually. Commercial airline pilots are generally paid from a range of $110,000 to $150,000 annually while pilots or large jets are commonly paid for $120,000 annually.
On the other note, pilots of small jets are generally compensated with $100,000 annually while non-jet aircraft pilots are paid lesser with an average of $80,000 dollars annually. These values are presented may still vary depending upon the airline company’s system.
Numerous individuals already aspire to fly an airplane or be inside it at a very young age. The fascination of how an airplane works, its strange yet wondrous structure, its uniqueness as well as the excitement of being on it are what attract them.
It’s indeed a very amazing profession. However, becoming one requires you to have a true passion and love for flying. In addition, being an airline pilot entails a great responsibility such as worrying about the passengers’ lives.
It is never an easy profession; to be capable of flying a plane, you first need to undergo pilot training to develop your skills and expand your knowledge.
In this article, essential things about being an airline pilot will be discussed — how much they earn within a year, how to truly become a pilot, the requirements you need and how long the process takes to become one.
The salaries received by every pilot varies according to different factors: the type of aircraft they’re flying, their level of experience (how long they’ve been in the industry), region or country, whether they’re in a regional or major airline and their position in the airline company.
Pilots do not earn based on a fixed salary like some other professions; they earn on an hourly basis wherein they need to reach the minimum hours of work (usually 75 hours per month) set per month to ensure that they are receiving a monthly minimum salary.
If you’re a pilot in a regional airline in the U.S., your starting salary has a rate of $20 – $50 per hour. In a year, its equivalent value is around $20,000-$40,000.
Being in a major airline is a different case; your initial or beginning salary would have a higher rate. The rates would, of course, still differ depending on the airline. However, it would usually be around $60-$90 per hour thus, its estimated value per year would be $50,000 – $80,000.
As I have mentioned earlier, the salary amount they receive depends on the type of aircraft they’re flying as well as how long they’ve been in the airline.
For example, the standard annual salary of a pilot flying a large jet would be around $120,000 but for smaller jets, it would only be around $100,000. However, if a pilot flies a non-jet plane, their salary would be lesser than the aforementioned amount.
Steps Towards Becoming a Pilot
Becoming a pilot does not happen in an instant, you need to invest a lot of your time and effort in learning all the essential things about aircraft and everything related to it. To give you an idea about how you can officially become one, here are some of the steps:
1. You should attain a college education.
College degree programs regarding piloting are greatly available if you haven’t had any existing knowledge and experience in flying an airplane. It is more advisable to get a college degree than just an associates’ degree since it is what commercial airlines prefer among their applicants.
2. Have at least the minimum hours of flight experience.
Before you become a pilot, you should be able to fly a plane for a total of 250 hours, which is the minimum hours of flight experience. In doing so, you would be accompanied by flight instructors in flight schools to always ensure a safe flight.
3. Get a pilot’s license.
After completing the minimum number of flying hours, you could now apply for a commercial pilot’s license by completing all other requirements they’re asking for.
Pilots must first undergo and pass the physical examination to ensure that their hearing and vision have no physical impairments. Afterward, they need to take the written examination that includes all the safety information and would also asses their skills.
4. Take additional pilot training and start working as a pilot.
Selected airlines require their pilot to take some special tests before they officially hire them as their pilot. Moreover, you need to gain a great number of flying hours (at least 4,000 in total) since they do not accept inexperienced pilots.
Pilot Training Requirements and Process
Some of the people easily get discouraged when they learn about the processes and requirements needed in training to become a pilot. Before you officially obtain an FAA Airline Transport Certificate, you need to first complete the requirement of having a total of 1,500 hours of flight experience.
It may seem like a big number but, if you are really determined to become one, this would not be a hindrance. The time it takes to be a pilot depend on the training you’d undergo as well as on the kind of pilot school you would get enrolled at.
If you focus a lot on your pilot training, maybe it would take you lesser time to become one; it could be shortened to less than a year. If the pilot school you get enrolled at lets you fly a plane for around once a week, then you would be spending quite a long time before you reach the minimum.
But, if the school lets you fly for twice or thrice a week, then you’ll have a faster progression.
If you aspire to become a professional pilot, you need to acquire three important things first — private license, instrument, and commercial. A private pilot license allows you to only fly the plane for enjoyment.
An instrument is a rating that would be added to your license and allows you to fly by reference to the aircraft’s equipment. Lastly, a commercial license gives you the right to get paid by flying. Aside from that, there are educational requirements you need to complete to be able to qualify in pilot training.
Most airline pilots are required to have a bachelor’s degree with any major than just a college degree. Regardless of your major, it is essential to complete and pass coursework in English, Math, Aeronautical Engineering and Physics.
In addition, it is also more advisable to be enrolled in the aeronautics program for it will give you a lot of advantage and would also develop your knowledge.
Types of Pilot Certifications
If you are training to become a pilot, there are various types of certificates you could obtain. The type of training you would undergo would also vary on the kind of certificate you wish to receive. Pilot certificates are also called as pilot licenses and some of its types are as follow:
Private Pilot License
This category has 4 different types under it — student, sport, recreational, and private. A private pilot license is the most common type that most pilots have. This certificate allows you to fly any aircraft.
However, you are not permitted to fly for commercial purposes and would not receive compensation for flying. You should have at least 35 or 40 total number of flying hours to obtain this.
Commercial Pilot License
Acquiring a CPL allows you to get paid for all your flying services but, requires you to abide by any federal aviation regulations. Being a commercial pilot also means that you are to study and to fly more complex aircraft which requires knowledge about professional flight operations.
Being a flight instructor allows you to teach a lot of pilot students to fly different types of aircraft. Most people who wish to become a pilot first try to become a flight instructor to gain experience while getting paid for flying. Before you could become one, you need to complete certain requirements such as having a CPL.
Airline Transport Pilot
The ATP license is considered as the most advanced certificate that could be received by any pilot students. In commercial airlines, they now require and hire applicants that have obtained this type of license. To obtain this certificate, you need to have the following requirements:
- At least 23 years old
- Have at least a total of 1,500 flying hours
- Pass all exams and tests (medical, physical or written)
Some individuals get easily confused between pilot certificates and ratings. To clearly differentiate the two, ratings are additional tests and training added to their certificate to improve or acquire greater opportunities. Some example of ratings are:
There are certain requirements you need to complete before obtaining this type of rating. This could be added to certificates such as PPL or CPL. Instrument rating pertains to the qualifications a pilot must have under the Instrument Flight Rules (IFR).
This type of rating enables you to effectively control an aircraft with multiple engines and with retractable gear. It could be added to your certificate as a private pilot. For certain training schools, this type of rating is necessary but is just optional for others.
This rating, when added to your certificate, allows you to instruct advance students regarding flying an aircraft. It is an essential rating to add in an airline transport license for it allows you for greater opportunities.
The type of students you would be teaching are those who wish to apply for instrument rating as well as those aiming for an airline transport license (ATP).
In achieving a rating, certificate or endorsement, pilot students are required to receive a certain amount of training, both in air and ground. MEIs are considered responsible for teaching or instructing students who wish to efficiently and effectively fly multi-engine aircraft.
Activities in Pilot Training
Pilot students definitely learn a lot of things during their pilot training. Aeronautics is broad and therefore, requires you a lot of time and training to master all the important things about it. Students undergo ground and air training; several things they do in training are the following:
Takeoffs and Landings
One of the easiest tasks of a pilot is learning how to take off and land. However, it gets harder when they start learning about the different types of it — normal, crosswind, soft field, and a short field. They must learn how to land on various types of fields such as on grass, soft and short runways.
Ground Reference Maneuvers
This refers to learning how to turn around a point, on a rectangular course and S- turns. It is an essential part of the training for it is best used to counterbalance the strong effects of the wind during a flight.
Stalls and Stall Recovery
Stalls happen when the wing of an airplane or an aircraft is hardly damaged and make it difficult for the plane to lift itself or to fly any longer. It’s greatly dangerous at takeoffs and landing for they are at low altitudes.
Practicing stall recovery occurs on high altitudes for increased safety as well as to know how to recover properly if ever it occurs on a plane flight.
This is also often called as advanced maneuvers since the skill required in properly executing it is not acquired unless proper control of normal maneuvers has been mastered.
Learning this type of maneuver enable you to hone and develop the skills that could enable you to cope with unforeseen emergencies encountered in a flight. The types of things you learn are steep turns, steep spiral, and chandelle.
Flight Planning and Navigation
A pilot must learn and master how to plan a cross-country flight with the use of knowing the routes, weather conditions, and regulations. Flight planning and navigation have been simplified nowadays due to the existence of GPS devices.
However, they should still learn how to navigate in case of emergencies such as GPS failure. When you talk about flight planning, it refers to magnetic heading and airspeed calculation, plotting in maps or charts, and taking into consideration the fuel usage.
As mentioned in the first paragraph, being a pilot is never an easy profession. In fact, there are no easy jobs or professions. It would only look easier once you have the determination to achieve it as well as have the passion to continue pursuing it.
Things You Need to Know In Becoming a Pilot
Becoming a pilot has a lot of advantage. It definitely have some disadvantages too but despite of that, there are countless reasons to be considered as to why this profession is an aspiration for many individuals.
Indeed, becoming one takes a long process. You need to undergo different set of training and pass several tests to develop your skills and knowledge about aircraft. Learning how to fly an aircraft is a continuous learning experience.
To further understand and know more about aircraft, read on and discover how much pilots earn, the steps to become one and the type of training you would experience.
How Much Pilots Earn
The compensations received by each pilot differs according to various variables. For example, the type of aircraft you fly would be a basis for the salary you receive. How long you’ve been in the company and your position in the airline affect your salary as well. In addition, the amount you earn would highly be affected depending on the region or district of where you work.
Start-up Pilot Salaries
For first-officer pilots, their salaries could be relatively low. However, its rates have recently been shifting and have been upgrading. Currently, their hourly rate salary adds up to around $20 – $50. When converted to its yearly amount, it could be between $20,000 to $40,000.
As mentioned earlier, the amount they earn would still vary since it is affected by several factors like the type of aircraft you’re flying, your airline company and your position.
Salaries Depending on the Airline Company
As mentioned earlier, there are various factors that affect the amount of salary you receive. Obviously, one of it is the type of airline company you’re working at. Between major and regional airlines, it is with no doubt that salaries of pilot workers in major airlines are higher as compared to the regional ones.
One of the major airlines, Delta Airlines, has a rate of $68 per hour for their first officers. For captains, their hourly rate extends up to $241 per hour. In 5 years, the hourly rate of their first officers would be increased to $160 and $248 for their captains.
On the other hand, Air Wisconsin, a regional airline, has an hourly pay of $26 for their first officers in their first year. After 5 years, the hourly rate would be increased to $42 per hour.
However, if you are a captain, you will be receiving a salary with a rate of $61 per hour on your first year. After gaining more flying experience, it will be increased to $78 per hour in 5 years.
Salaries According to Aircraft Size
Another basis for determining a pilot’s salary is the type of aircraft he or she is flying. The median annual salary of a captain who’s flying a large jet aircraft would be around $121,000. Flying a small jet would, of course, have a lower salary and an estimated amount would be around $104,000.
For flying a non-jet aircraft, the salary is lower than the amount received by those flying a jet aircraft. If it’s a large one, your annual salary would be $79,000 but for a small one, it would be $85,000 per year.
How Pilot Salaries Could be Increased
Different airlines vary in their schedules but all of them begin with offering the standard salary rate. Pilots experience their highest salary increases during their first five years in the company.
As compared to captains, first officers receive a higher increase in their salary. However, expect the greatest salary increase in your first year of the probationary period since it’s when it usually occurs.
For the significant carrier Southwest, first officers start with a time-based compensation of $57 in their first year. By year five, this has dramatically increased to $130 per hour.
By year 10, a first officer’s time-based compensation is $148 with Southwest. In the main year, a chief for Southwest has an hourly rate of $191. By year five he receives $200 in an hourly rate, and by year 10 $212 hourly.
For regional carriers, they would pay less and also the aircraft they would be flying is smaller. Flying for a regional aircraft is the most common method to increase or gain experience as required by major airlines. Therefore, it is essential and a lot advisable for most upcoming and aspiring pilots.
How to Become an Airline Pilot
Deciding to become a pilot is an easy thing to do. However, the process it takes to become one could be considered difficult since you’ll be needing to have lots of preparations.
It includes choosing which flight school you would attend, completing all the requirements and many more. To guide you into becoming an airline pilot, here are some ways you need to take and follow.
1. Attend an FAA flight school.
The first step towards becoming a pilot is to enroll yourself on a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight school. However, keep in mind that you should choose one that is nationally accredited. The training you would undergo may take a year or a year and a half, depending on the employment requirements of your country.
2. Have a commercial license.
In some airline companies, their requirement is to attain an Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) but others only require a commercial license for you to get hired. To get a commercial license, you first need to complete the first and basic step to become a pilot — attain a Private Pilot’s License (PPL).
This certificate allows you to officially fly an aircraft but, it has limitations. After you get a PPL, you can now move on to attaining a commercial license. This license allows you to get paid for your flying services.
If the company you’re applying to requires you to have an ATPL, you need to gain more flying experience. It is the highest level of flying certificates and would require you a total of 1500 hours of flight time before receiving this certificate.
3. Take instructor courses.
Some pilots experience difficulty in getting hired by airline companies due to having a lack of flight experience. To gain and increase flight experience, most pilots try to first take instructor courses or become an instructor until they reach the required 1500 hours of flight time.
There are a total of three instructor courses. The first one is the Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) which allows you to teach students to become a private pilot or be a commercial pilot. Next is the Certified Flight Instructor Instrument (CFII) which grants you the capability to teach students to become an instrument rated pilot.
Lastly, Multi-Engine Instructor (MEI) allows you to teach students to be a multi-engine rated pilot. Having a CFI and CFII would increase your chance of being hired as a pilot in a certain company.
You could start flight training once you’ve finished and met all the requirements as well as been officially hired as a pilot. The kind of training you would undergo vary depending on the airline company. It depends on which field or part you need to master.
In addition, the training you would receive would be based on the type of license you have, the aircraft you would be flying and your position. For example, a private pilot would receive different training as compared to airline pilots and commercial ones.
Some common topics included in the training are jet orientation, crew cooperation, and line-oriented flight training. One of the easiest thing pilots do in flight training is learning how to take off and land. Indeed, it is easy but it becomes complicated once they start learning the different types of it.
Aside from that, they are also trained to perform ground reference maneuvers, stall and stall recovery, flight planning, and navigation. Ground reference maneuver is known as learning how to turn around a point. Stall recovery is practiced so that pilots would immediately know of what to do in case the plane experience wing damage that makes it hard to lift itself.
Two Types of Flight Training Programs
There are two different types of FAA flight training programs that could be taken by any pilot — Part 61 and Part 141 training programs. These two are both accepted training programs however, they definitely have differences. Part 61 training program is defined as the most common type of program.
It is also the type that is often offered by small flight schools. It is a very flexible type of program since the program itself could be adjusted to suit the preference of the students. Since it is less structured as compared to Part 141, it takes a longer time to be finished.
Meanwhile, the Part 141 flight training program is often offered by great flight schools or institutions. Both training programs are conducted using the same standard but when it comes to this program, it has more structured training which lessens the time for it to be completed.
For an instance, the flight time required for a pilot who’s undergoing Part 61 training would take 40 hours but only 35 hours under Part 141 rules. The students’ performance under Part 141 training is regularly monitored by the FAA. This is to address and improve the poor performances exhibited by the students.
In becoming a pilot, there are certain requirements you need to meet. For a student pilot, you need to be at least 17 years old, must possess reading and writing skills, and understand English to attain a student pilot certificate. In gaining a private pilot’s license, the requirements are the same as the student pilot.
But, added are that flight and ground training should be completed as required by federal aviation regulations. For commercial pilot and flight instructors, it is also the same as the student pilot’s requirements. The only difference is that they must be at least 18 years old.
Lastly, for an airline transport pilot, they must be at least 23 years old but exempted pilots could attain a certificate at age 21.
Aside from age requirements, there are other things you need to complete or have before you could qualify for pilot training. These include the educational requirements, financial requirements, and other skills which would further be developed.
Difficulties Experienced by Airline Pilots
The work of a pilot is a very interesting and amazing thing. However, it is also very complex that is why they also experience some sort of difficulties. When it comes to flying an aircraft, landing is one of the trickiest things to do since it has different types.
Performing it lets you become closer to the ground at a high speed which makes it seem terrifying. Weather is also another factor that greatly affects the way you’d be flying an aircraft.
Therefore, it is essential to learn and understand the information about the weather to always ensure a safe flight. For example, try to look at weather maps or forecasts before you call for a briefing.
In becoming a pilot, you also need to understand risks since there are instances where you do not know what might happen. You should be aware of how to take actions in case of emergencies. One example of these emergencies is experiencing flying without the use of a GPS device.
Navigation would become a lot difficult with the absence of GPS so it is essential to practice flying without it. Most pilots, despite having enough knowledge regarding aircraft, still lack essential skills because of having a lesser time spent in flying.
One important thing needed by airline pilots is to develop their physical, mental and flying skills. It could be done by enhancing their flying time or what is called as “flying frequency”. In this way would they only learn more and get used to flying.
These are just some of the common problems encountered by pilots during flying. However, it is not limited to these since there are other difficulties which they probably experience during ground training and in other fields.
Being a pilot is a dream for many because of the high pilot salary and the chance to travel. But in this article, we’ll break down if a pilot’s salary is really that high.
After all, you get to fly a humongous aircraft and travel the world in the process. There are many other reasons why being a pilot is a sought-after job.
But one of the more compelling reasons behind this is a pilot’s salary. Is piloting salary really that high? If it is, what are other responsibilities and benefit that comes with it? Read on to know more about these questions.
US National Pilot Salary Figures
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median pay for pilots is $102,520 a year in 2015. For a large aircraft, the median annual figure goes up to as much as $126,000. However, the typical range is usually anywhere from $109,000 to $142,000 depending on various other factors.
On the other hand, the average salary for pilots in the US is much lower compared to its median figure. Indeed states that pilots make an average of $76,534 every year. The said salary information was gleaned from over 2,100 data points from employers themselves.
Overall, pilots are paid a few levels above the national average salary in the US. Pilots who earn the highest are ones who have been employed in their airlines for a long time.
Average Pay for a Pilot
The average pay for a pilot varies depends on a number of factors. If you’re a newly minted pilot, chances are you’re in the lower totem pole of the salary spectrum. So what exactly is at the lower end? You’re looking at anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000 a year. Translated to hourly, this would be anywhere from $20 to $50 per hour.
This depends on what airline you’ll sign up to, the aircraft you’ll be flying, and whether you’ll be flying domestic or international.
The thing about being a pilot is that your flight hours will be highly regulated. And you’re likely to spend as much time on the ground as you do on air.
Airline pilots, on average, log around 75 flying hours a month. They then log another 75 for carrying out ground tasks such as record maintenance, pre-flight checks, and flight planning—to name just a few.
Aside from the hourly wage pilots receive, they also receive a training stipend as well as a per diem rate when based away from home. The said rate covers their meals and other additional expenses that come with traveling.
Moreover, airlines also pay for a pilot’s accommodation when flying to places that are away from home.
Although the starting salaries for pilots have been reputed to be fairly low, recent development in the industry has seen entry-level pay for pilots to be on the rise.
Annual Salary for a Pilot
The annual salary for a pilot will vary depending on the type of aircraft a pilot is flying. They’re seniority at the airline they’re working in will be a factor.
For a large jet, the annual salary for a pilot is $121,400. While for those who fly small jets, the annual salary for a pilot is $104,200. For non-jet aircraft pilots, they make lower than the said amount.
Starting Pilot Salary
The starting pilot salary is around $98,800 and already factors in bonuses as well as other types of compensation that comes with the job.
Standard Wages for Pilots
The standard wages for pilots are slightly higher than the starting rate mentioned in the previous section. For pilots past the 2-year mark, they earn an average of $110,000 annually.
Captain Pilot Salary
A captain pilot’s salary as of Jun. 30, 2018 as much as $146,800 for captains. Non-ranked pilots in the bottom 10% earn a bit lower than $100,000 while the top 10% earned somewhere along $62,000.
Corporate Pilot Salary
Corporate pilot salary is pegged at $80,100 annually as of May 2012. This is because corporate pilots are still classified as commercial pilots according to the Bureau of Labor Statics. However, the top 10% can make as much as $135,000 a year.
Top Factors That Determine the Salaries of Airline Pilots
One factor that determines the salaries of airline pilots is the size of the aircraft they’re flying. Pilot training will then depend on the type of aircraft you’ll be designated to fly.
For a large jet, a pilot’s salary can reach as much as $120,000 annually. While smaller jets usually net a pilot a salary around the $100,00 a year range.
On the other hand, pilots who fly non-jet aircraft make significantly less. Those who fly large non-jet aircraft earn around $80,000 per year. While small non-jet aircraft have a median salary of $85,000 annually.
The highest pay rate based on aircraft is when a pilot flies any of the Legacy carriers. It’s one of the oldest and largest carriers available in the US. For instance, flying a Boeing 757 carries a $70 per hour pay rate. The pay then significantly increases after the first and second year.
After a decade of flying a Legacy aircraft, a pilot can enjoy as much as $150 per hour pay rate. Even with a minimum logged time of 65 hours a month, a pilot flying a Boeing 757 can still stand to make around $50,000 a year. This doesn’t include the per diem rate.
However, not all airlines provide the same rate. Delta, for instance, pays about $200 per hour for flying the Boeing 757 on a pilot’s first year. By year 10, this is set to increase to $222. This translates to a salary of $160,000 annually on a pilot’s first year and over $170,000 on the 10th year. Both estimates don’t include the per diem.
Salary of International Airline Pilots
As lightly touched on in the last section, the salary of international airline pilots can vary depending on what airline you sign up with. Every airline will offer a different base pay rate depending on your ranking. Most often than not, major airlines will offer higher salaries compared to smaller, regional ones. Regional airlines also usually have smaller fleets which mean lower pay for their pilots as well.
Despite the lower pay, pilots commonly fly with regional airlines as a way to gain experience. And for pilots who are on the rise, it’s a must to have experienced first before being hired by major airlines. Island Air, a regional airline, pays its first officers about $40 an hour. This goes up to almost $60 by the 5th year. Their captains make almost $70 an hour on their first year and about $100 by their 5th year.
Regional Pilot Salary
Regional pilot salary is much lower than international pilots. In fact, the average regional pilot salary is pegged at just $20,000 as of 2012. This applies as an entry-level salary if a pilot started out as first officers or a co-pilot.
How Pilots’ Income is Increased
Pilots’ income usually increases yearly. But expect the biggest salary increases to be in the first five years of a pilot’s career. More specifically, the biggest increase will be after a pilot’s first year of the probationary period.
The pay raise for those ranking as first officers is also much more substantial compared to those already ranked as captain. Despite this, a lot of importance is still usually placed on seniority as a basis for a salary increase.
Aside from the standard salary that pilots get, there are also other forms of compensation that add to their total pay. Many airlines offer profit-sharing schemes as well as bonus and incentives to their pilots.
It has been reported that negotiations are in order for an increase in salary for pilots in some major airlines. In Delta, unions have been lobbying for as much as a 13% increase in 2016 as well as an additional 3% raise in 2017.
This will then be followed by a 3% boost in 2018 and 4% in 2019. With 2015 being the year that airlines made its highest profits, industry pundits are looking at a pay increase for pilots in the coming years.
Commercial Airline Pilot Average Salary
The average commercial airline pilot salary is $130,00. The lower salary range is around $112,600 and can reach a high of $146,400. On the other hand, the bottom 10% earned $98,800 while the top 10% earned $62,100.
Salary of a Pilot Per Month
Using the average figure stated in the previous section, the salary of a pilot per month amounts to about $10,830.
Southwest Airline Pilot Salary
In comparison, Southwest Airline Pilots’ salary of $50 an hour or about $193,000 for its first officers on their 1st year. This rate is set to more than double by a pilot’s 5th year to $130 an hour. By a pilot’s 10th year, the hourly wage for a first officer would be around $150 an hour.
Captains, on the other hand, stand to make as much as $190 an hour for their first year with Southwest. By his 5th year, this is set to increase to $200 an hour and $212 for his 10th year.
Delta Airlines Pilots Salary
As of Jan. 20, 2019, the usual Delta Airlines’ pilots salary is pegged at $143,80. This already factors in the bonuses and any added compensation that comes with the job.
Job growth for this career is slated to grow at 5% from 2014 to 2024 which is average. The forecasted employment change between 2014 to 2024 is about 5,400. All in all, the outlook for a pilot career will be steady in the next 10 years with little to no change.
However, a study by the University of Dakota has forewarned a shortage of 15,000 pilots by 2026 which could put a dent in the growth of the industry. Should this shortage happen, it’ll no doubt slow down airline growth in the coming years. More specifically, it could increase labor costs as travel demand grows.
Due to this impending shortage, many regional airlines are increasing their pay and bonuses in order to attract more people into the flying career path. Major airline carriers haven’t felt this shortage since they hire mainly from regional airlines.
Pilot Job Description and Career Path
Being a pilot requires a number of serious responsibilities. Their biggest one is to transport a carrier and its passengers safely to the designated destination.
They are also in charge of making sure that the aircraft is in good working order before every flight by doing pre-inspections. Another one of their responsibilities is modifying a flight plan in cases of emergencies.
Once you pass the hiring process, you’ll then start out as a flight instructor. The salary for a flight instructor usually starts out low. The common hourly rate for an instructor is anywhere from $15 to $20. This doesn’t include benefits such as health insurance, sick leaves, and vacation times. Due to this, there are some states that allow flight instructors to receive public assistance since the majority of pilots starting out are also beginning to pay their debts as well.
After a stint as a flight instructor, many new pilots move on to flying charter either in corporate flights, a small commercial airline, or flying freight while others directly work as a regional airline pilot. Once you’ve amassed enough experience, most pilots then go on to work for major airline carriers. Flying in any of the said options entail benefits and bonuses aside from the standard salary.
In terms of ranking, you may have to stay as a first officer for a couple of years before you’re promoted as a junior captain. Following a few years as a junior captain, you will then get promoted as a captain.
In total, you’ll have to wait at least seven years before you can occupy the left seat of the cockpit as a captain. The key thing here is to stay in just one airline in your career so you don’t lose your seniority status.
How to Become a Pilot
If you want to know how to become a pilot, we have just the right information for you. The basic requirement of being one is having a college education. Most airlines require their pilots to have a bachelor’s degree rather than just an associate one.
Although not always necessary, it’ll be helpful if you get a college degree program that’s related or close to being a pilot so that you’ll have a solid educational foundation. An example would be mechanical or aerospace engineering.
Some airlines also prefer pilots who have taken courses in liberal arts and aeronautical engineering subjects. You can then take classes in a flight school that’s certified by the Federal Aviation Administration or FAA.
The next step is to rack up on flight hours so you can earn your pilot license. For this, you have to have at least a minimum of 250 hours. If you’re 18 or older you can then complete your other requirements such as a physical examination to determine if their eyesight and hearing are sound.
It also serves the purpose of assessing whether you have no physical impairments whatsoever in terms of doing your job as a pilot.
Aside from this, you also have to take a written exam that will test your flight expertise and knowledge about safety. The test will be monitored by an FAA-certified instructor. You might also be required to take other additional licenses or tests depending on your pilot position. Some airlines also require their pilots to take intelligence and psychological tests.
Once you’ve passed all the requirements to be a pilot and have been hired by an airline, you’ll then undergo pilot training. Some airlines such as Emirates have their own training facility that they exclusively use for training their pilots. Other airlines like EasyJet partner with other flight training schools in training their pilots.
Airline training usually integrates specific requirements unique to that airline as each one has different operational procedures and policies. Training usually covers topics such as jet orientation, crew cooperation, and line-oriented flight training—to name just a few.
Pilots will be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills that will prepare them to serve as a pilot flying both domestic and international flights.
Pilot training is also structured depending on the license it confers (e.g. Multi Pilot License). It can also be laid out according to a pilot’s position and what aircraft he’ll be flying. For instance, first officers usually receive different training from captains.
Aside from actual flights, you’ll also be undergoing flight simulation training according to your airline’s operational requirements. The first six months is usually done in a classroom in order to build your aviation expertise.
You will be regularly tested on your knowledge throughout the period and will then undergo actual flight training in the airline’s designated training center.
Have you always wanted to travel the world and get paid for it? It’s definitely possible once you join the ranks of the aviation profession.
Working in the field typically comes with big travel discounts that you can extend to your friends and family. This is why being a flight attendant is a thrilling experience that many people usually vie for.
Although not usually required, going to a flight attendant school can give you a competitive edge over other applicants. To get the lowdown on online and traditional flight attendant schools, read on below!
Choosing the Best Flight Attendant School
To be a successful flight attendant, you’ll need to have a good foundation of skills and knowledge. And one sure way to achieve that is by choosing the best flight attendant school available for you.
If you’re wondering what your options are, here are a few that you can check out:
Flight Attendant School Online Certificate Programs
There are many kinds of flight attendant school online programs available on the Internet. Most of the certificate courses on the web teach onboarding know-how. However, these programs will differ depending on your target airline. Whether you want to work for a regional airline, international airline, or large international airline.
The reason why you need to take a different course depending on airline size or type is because of the airplanes associated with each. Depending on the type and size of a flight, there are a specific number of airplane models that are fit for that flight. What online certificate programs do is to fit the program curriculum based on the likely airplane models to be used for a particular flight type and size.
Included in a standard online certificate program are topics about the history of flight, aviation terminology, uniform policies, boarding, and standard safety procedures, to name just a few. Certificates of completion are then issued via email or you may also opt to purchase a printed certificate.
Flight Attendant School Cost
The flight attendant school cost for online certificate programs for charter operators or regional online usually cost an average of $250. While courses for large international airlines cost an average of $350.
Supplemental Online Courses You Can Take
If you plan on taking your training to the next level, you can also take supplemental courses to add to your knowledge. Typical supplemental courses on being a cabin crew include topics about first aid and emergency, inflight leadership training, and safe food handling, to mention a few.
You can also take short courses on a specific aircraft type. There are a lot of courses out there on airplanes such as the Boeing 737 line, Airbus A330, and Dash 8-100, among others.
For those aiming for management positions, there are also available courses for that.
Traditional Flight Attendant Training School
Traditional flight attendant training schools are those that you have to attend in person. The duration of the courses offered in these schools lasts anywhere from a few days to a few months. The usual curriculum of these short courses is divided into different phases.
You’ll usually start out with a basic introduction of responsibilities, aircraft protocols, and procedures, as well as emergency situation training. After completing each course, you will undergo a competency check to test your learning and knowledge of the whole course.
Compared to online training programs, going to a traditional flight attendant school can cost you $1,500 to $5,000. If this is too steep for you, seminars are also a good alternative. They cost less than half and are typically held in a much shorter duration.
Finding a Flight Attendant School Near Me
Finding a flight attendant school near you is as easy as searching on Google or Google Maps. If you’ve logged in your location, it will automatically search the nearest ones for you.
Often, you’ll also find that most flight attendant schools are situated in cities or nearby airline offices.
Comparing School Training to Airline Training
There are some cabin crew veterans out there who are not a big proponent of undergoing training schools. This is because once hired, airlines will also provide you with their own training.
Once hired by an airline company, they will typically pay for your training, food, as well as lodging. However, you’ll have to shell out your own money to buy your uniforms. In one airline, uniforms can cost as much as $2,000, which is often deducted to your salary over the years.
Nonetheless, your expenses won’t stop there. If ever you’re stationed outside of your hometown (happens about 90% of the time), you’ll have to find your own place. This means you have to have enough money to pay for rent in the city you’ll be based in. This could be a problem if you’re just starting out since you might not necessarily make a lot of money even if you work for a major airline.
Compared to flight attendants who started in the 90s, those entering the field today are making 30% lower than their counterparts.
What Airline Training Is Like
The mandatory training provided by your airline is typically FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) approved. Training lasts anywhere from a few weeks to two months.
During your training period, you will be taught cabin crew duties, responsibilities, industry terms, emergency procedures, and aircraft exit/entrance, among others. Your most important duty, however, is to assist passengers in any case of emergency.
The passing rate would be anywhere from 85% to 90% in all subjects. In terms of schedule, you could be either assigned to the AM or PM class.
The lessons are fast-paced and only about two or three “Needs Improvement” marks are allowed. Any more than the quota set by airline and you’ll be sent home. Most airlines are also strict when it comes to attendance. A late or no-show are often likely causes of being booted out of the training program.
Every airline has their own training standards and these are just some of the things you can usually expect. It’s very important that you review your airline’s training requirements as this can definitely vary.
Flight Attendant Training Benefits and Salary
Training salary per week ranges anywhere from $300 to $400, which is paid to your bank account. If you translate this to an hourly rate, you would net anywhere from $27 to $32 an hour.
A good number of airlines usually give a cash advance upon starting or on the 1st day of the month. This typically amounts from $800 to $1,000. The rest of the pay is then paid after two weeks, which already includes expense allowance and flight pay.
If the training is in a different city, your hotel, transportation, and food expenses will be usually provided. Any expenses outside of those will be shouldered by you.
During training, you’re also entitled to receive medical benefits (includes dental), pension, and life insurance. These are all on top of your travel benefits and discounts. However, each benefit is instituted at different times throughout your 6-month probationary period.
Every month, you’re guaranteed 13 day offs. For the rest of the month, you’ll usually be required to be on call 24 hours.
How to Pass Flight Attendant Training and How Long It Takes
To pass training, having a stellar attendance is a must. Most airlines are pretty strict when it comes to tardiness and no-shows. Another important thing is to listen to the lessons. This will prove handy when it comes to doing your assignments, exam, and practice flights. Failure to learn or pass the home works can mean a failing grade for you.
The most important role of a cabin crew is making sure passengers are safe during any emergency. Make sure you’re calm and alert during emergency exercises.
More than just acing standard training requirements, you have to show that you’re a good fit for the job role. One of the criteria you’ll be assessed against is how good you get along with others. A good attitude and pleasing personality can do a lot for you. You might have the best grades in the class, but if you’re at odds with everyone then you could still fail training.
These traits show that you’re a team player and that you have people skills. There’s nothing more integral to flight work than these two in addition to customer service skills.
Once you pass training then you’ll be given an FAA Certificate, which will be your proof of demonstrated proficiency. This certification is dependent on the specific aircraft you’ve been trained for. To maintain your certification, you’ll be required to undergo recurring training every year.
If you’re wondering how long flight attendant training usually lasts, it’s usually two months for most airlines.
Top Valued Flight Attendant Skills
During your training, you’ll be typically assessed on your communication, customer service, physical fitness, and decision-making skills on top of your attentiveness level.
As someone who’ll be working with a lot of people from all walks of life, you have to know how to communicate well. Customer service skills are also crucial because that’s the nature of the job. Outside of emergency aid, you have to assist and make the passengers comfortable. This means providing meals and helping stow away their luggage.
Physical fitness is another vital aspect of the job because it entails long working hours. More than that, you might have to do some bag lifting every now and then.
For decision-making skills, this will come in handy during emergencies and safety procedures. You have to be able to think on your feet regarding the best steps to handle dire situations.
What Happens After the Training Period
Once you pass the training period, you’ll be guaranteed a minimum of 65 hours and a maximum of 95 hours of flying time. This could be higher or lower depending on your airline. During summer, the minimum and maximum are increased with an additional 5 hours in anticipation of increased flights.
After completing initial training, new flight attendants don’t typically have their own scheduled flights. They’re generally placed on call, known as reserve status. Having this status means you must be able to report to work on short notice (usually 2 hours) as an additional staff or to fill in for any crew who’s absent. Expect to be on reserve for about a year after starting. However, there are cases when flight attendants are on reserve status for years.
You’ll also likely be relocated once you start. Many airlines will inform you of your impending relocation to weeks before you finish your training. This is to ensure that you have ample time to prepare for the move. If you agree with the move, you’ll be given a relocation allowance that will cover a 7-day stay in a hotel.
You’ll also be given moving expenses and a maximum of 50 kilos of freight, with no charge. Any additional expense that you might incur, such as food or transportation, will come from your own pocket.
Any additional expense that you might incur, such as food or transportation, will come from your own pocket.
Flight Attendant Promotion and Advancement
Flight schedules (blocks) are based on seniority. Those who have tenure in your airline will be the first to bid on blocks. Bidding for blocks is done monthly.
Once you achieve seniority, you’ll have more say on your monthly flying schedule. Expect the most popular and high-paying routes to go to tenured flight attendants.
Most airlines also enforce a substantial pay increase yearly, which some basing it on performance. By your 8th year, you’ll be able to reach the highest salary possible for flight attendants. This is assuming you get the yearly pay increase.
If you want to be promoted to a higher position, you’ll be required to have at least 30 months’ of experience. However, this will still depend on your airline’s current wait time before bidding up. Some have as long as 12 years’ wait time.
Once you reach senior status, you’ll be tasked to oversee the work of the crew in international flights. Many are also promoted to management roles, which are more stable. This is ideal for those who are starting a family and prefer not to fly back to back anymore. Those in management positions are usually responsible for recruiting, scheduling, and instructing new flight attendants.
Flight Attendant Job Demands
Although a job as a flight attendant is often admired and idealized, the job demands can be heavy. One of the job’s top requirements is to be prepared to work on holidays, weekends, and night shifts. You have to be able to cope working on irregular hours as well as long duty days (sometimes exceeding 15 hours).
A big part of your working hours will also be usually spent standing up. Additionally, you will also often be required to lift heavy bags (around 10 kg. and up). These conditions sometimes result in chronic back or feet/leg problems.
Expect to deal with turbulence on occasion when the weather’s bad. Although it happens rarely, dealing with unruly passengers or emergencies can be hard and cause you stress. You’ll also spend many days away from home and you’ll likely sleep in shared apartments or hotel rooms with other flight attendants.
During flights, expect cabin pressurization, and chronic jet lag.